Just the name Bali brings the world’s best beaches to mind. Such extraordinary brand recognition for a destination is priceless.
Isn’t this smallest of the Indonesian islands a paradise on earth? Waking up to gently floating breezes in a flower-laden bungalow by the sea only gets better when you step across the threshold onto one of the glorious white sandy beaches. Or perhaps you’d prefer settling in at a Kuta resort with a big pool for the kids to enjoy all day long? Hotels here can be beachside or poolside, luxury or budget, near the Ubud nightlife or far from it. All these hotel personalities are among the choices in Bali hospitality, and romantic is never difficult to find.
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Bali’s Pull Reaches Far and Wide
Dining in Ubud and elsewhere around the island is an experience to savor. At Ibu Oka across from the former Royal Palace in Ubud, they literally go whole hog…babi guling is the roast suckling pig everyone is having. Of course, smoked duck is a local specialty; try it at the famous Dirty Duck Diner or drop in at Mosaic, a perennial top choice. Vegetarians won’t be disappointed, either. Padang food is pork-free from Sumatra, where you can pile your plate high at Puteri Minang for around $5. In Kerobakan, Fire is the latest entry from the W Retreat & Spa, named for the wood-fired grill where flames are reflected on a black floor that sparkles like crystallized lava. At the Four Seasons in Jimbaran Bay, you can time dinner at Sundara to appreciate sunset at Muaya Beach. When it’s time for some informal pork ribs, Indonesian style, head for Naughty Nuri’s Warung in Seminyak.
It may be considered a relatively small island, dropped as it is into the huge sea, but Bali is actually about the size of Delaware. Therefore, you cannot do it all in a day. So, drop your anchor in the area you like best, as nobody comes to Bali to drive around all day. Choose carefully, but know that there are wonderful experiences not to be missed wherever you go around the island: the divine fruit, yoga on the beach, temple prayers, hikes to the river, exploring rice fields, surfing, kayaking, even taking local cooking classes.
Come time for the splendor of a sunset at Seminyak, it’s easy to understand why Balinese dance ceremonies pay thanks to the gods.